We review 13 of 2011’s best sunglasses for triathlon to help you see your way to victory

Check out our newest sunglasses reviews here. Find more group tests from Triathlon Plus in our other best triathlon gear reviews.

Madison D’Arcs Triple
£29.99
www.madison.co.uk

These perform at least as well as the other budget glasses we tested, and are the lowest priced. The wraparound lens protects your eyes and the top of the frame, which looks bulky, didn’t make an appearance in our line of vision when riding. The big nosepiece in the corners of your eyes was irritating, though. The three lenses provided – dark, yellow and clear – were all good, with no distortion, and we found the yellow lens really good for bringing out contrast. The one-piece lenses were really easy to swap round. Sweat-fog took a bit longer to clear than on some of the other models we tested. We also found the arms a bit too grippy for the wide lens – they bounced around on our noses when running, but a narrower version is available for small faces.

Verdict
Solid performers and if we had £30 to spend on sunnies, we’d get these.

Performance 3/5
Value 5/5
Overall 3/5

Triathlon Plus Top Value Award, issue 27

Aspex Raven 3 Lens
£35
www.aspexsunglasses.co.uk

We love a value set of sunnies and these will do the job if you’re on a budget. Worrying creaking from the frame when we put them on didn’t fill us with confidence, but the thin frame is light and flexible enough to take a bashing in your bag. They sit snugly enough to run in and have an adjustable nosepiece, and the vented lenses clear quickly when you get moving. They click in and out easily and you can swap the classic late-’80s triathlon hypercolour lens for supplied yellow or ‘smoke’ lenses (we’d rather have clear). Vision was a bit swimmy on the bike and the overall feel was harsher than other glasses on test – the thin arms pinched us after a while when running. One of our testers also found the lenses a bit shallow, giving light gaps round the bottom of their vision.

Verdict
Light, adjustable, value glasses, but not quite the best in their price bracket.

Performance 3/5
Value 3/5
Overall 3/5

DHB Pro Triple
£39.99
www.wiggle.co.uk

A solid-performing set for the cash. The Pro comes with a mirrored dark lens for bright sun, which we found really effective; a very orange light-enhancing lense and a clear lens that still offers 100% UV protection (though isn’t quite clear – there’s a slight tint to them, worth noting if you’re planning any night rides). They did steam up but cleared quickly, and though vision wasn’t as pin-sharp as some on test (not surprising at the price), there’s no dizziness inducing distortion. The soft, rubbery arm tips are very comfortable. Although the lenses aren’t very deep, we found the curved shape fitted right against the face, closing up annoying gaps in vision, and in a tuck we didn’t have any problems with the top of our vision either. Fit seemed on the wide side for female testers.

Verdict
Well-shaped sunnies with good dark lenses; check fit as can seem wide.

Performance 3/5
Value 4/5
Overall 3/5

Cebe Wild
£40
www.cebe.com

In some decidedly odd-shaped company, ‘Wild’ seems an ironic name for these conservative sunnies, that went down better with our run tester than our rider. There are shaped rubber tips on the arms and an adjustable hydrophilic rubber nose piece that kept them snug, and they’re perfectly comfortable for both disciplines. But for our rider, the top of the frame and the chunky nosepiece wouldn’t quite get out of view even after numerous fit adjustments, which became irritating after a while. The lenses were also more prone to fogging than others we tested and seemed to take longer to clear. For our runner, good clarity of vision and the lightness and flexibility of the frame made them a solid performer. They come with three lenses and a sturdy case with lens pockets.

Verdict
Mid pack running performance, but obscured vision for our riders.

Performance 2/5
Value 3/5
Overall 3/5

Tifosi Slip Race
£49.99
www.tifosioptics.com, www.zyro.co.uk

The Slip was more popular with our runners than riders. They’re a good-value and smart-looking set of sunglasses, with three decently crisp and fog-free lenses: dark, clear and ‘all-conditions red’ that brightened up dull days. They’re not adjustable, but come in different sizes and our testers had no trouble with fit. For the riders they didn’t quite sit high enough, which meant the top of the frame interfered with vision slightly in an aero tuck. But our runners were pleased with the width and depth of vision offered by the Slip, and they stayed in place nicely. Vents at the tops of the lenses keep them clear, though on a long ride our cyclist tester ended up with sweat running down the inside of the lenses.

Verdict
Good quality and range of lenses for the price; just check they’re OK for you in a tuck.

Performance 3/5
Value 4/5
Overall 3/5

Bloc Leopard
£50
www.blocsystems.co.uk

Described by Bloc as “perfect for ski-ing, cycling and shooting”, these would be a good investment for anyone looking for a winter move to biathlon, but our bike and run testers were pretty pleased with them too; we tested four BLOC styles and these came out on top for being just a bit more wearable. The adjustable nose piece and flexible frame help you set up a good fit and they’re really comfortable; add big, clear lenses with lovely wide vision and you can just about forget you’re wearing them. They come supplied with three lenses (dark, clear and yellow) and we were really impressed with the clarity of vision and lack of distortion at this price. They did suffer from steaming up on long rides in the sun, but cleared quickly enough.

Verdict
Nice looking and nice to look in, with just minor fog issues.

Performance 3/5
Value 4/5
Overall 3/5

Sundog Attack
£59.99
www.sundogeyewear.co.uk

Generally speaking, the extra money you’ll pay between the most expensive and cheapest sunglasses goes on the lenses, so we were pleasantly surprised by the clarity of vision given by the Mela lenses in this set of sunnies. These are ‘melanin infused’ to filter blue light, reducing glare and improving contrast. Our testers didn’t know that – but reported a brilliant experience with reduced flicker under trees, sharp vision whether under white cloud or in bright sunlight, and good perspective. Vents in the lenses also meant they hardly ever steamed up, and cleared in a few seconds when they did. The frame is comfortable, with an adjustable nosepiece and soft, grippy arms. The only problem we found was a tendency to get stung in the eye through the vents when the wind picked up.

Verdict
Incredibly good lenses for the price, if a bit drafty when it’s windy.

Performance 4/5
Value 5/5
Overall 4/5

Triathlon Plus Top Value Award, issue 27

Sunwise Waterloo GS Silver
£76.99
www.sunwise.co.uk

Patriotic British triathletes will be pleased to hear that, as well as their very British name, these specs are made in the UK. The chromafusion GS lenses are designed for medium to strong light; they’re light-reacting, so good for changeable days. Though they’re not the sharpest lenses we tested, they reduced flicker, gave glare protection and cleared fog quickly. They look good, too – you could get away with wearing them casually. Our testers just weren’t convinced about the shape: the shallow and square lens left gaps at the bottom of our vision, which was troubling when we were running, and in a tuck on the bike the nosepiece was visible. The nosepiece wasn’t adjustable either.

Verdict
Smart and clever sunnies, but check shape suits you before you buy.

Performance 3/5
Value 3/5
Overall 3/5

Bolle Draft
£108
www.bolle.com

Another set that gave us 1989 flashbacks, the Draft’s big lenses were a hit with our cycling testers. Get into an aero tuck and you can barely see the frame at the top of your vision. The mirrored B-Clear lenses are designed to reduce glare and keep your eyes strong in long periods in the saddle in the summer, so Ironman athletes should look at these. They weren’t the very sharpest lenses we’ve tried, but vision was good and clear and they didn’t steam up at all (there are no vents, but a hydrophobic coating keeps them fog-free). The adjustable nose piece and long strips of sticky rubber on the arms kept them in place well, too. The ‘medium/large fit’ was loose on female testers and a bit wobbly for the run. They’re available in more toned-down colours.

Verdict
Good, big glasses giving clear glare and fog-free vision.

Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Giro Havik 2
£149.99
www.madison.co.uk, www.giro.com

You might wonder how one pair of sunnies could be worth £100 more than another, but put on the Havik and you’ll see. The Zeiss certified True Sight lenses give pin-sharp vision and keep glare and flicker down. Giro say their Super Fit Engineering means these “disappear when you put them on”; our tester said “once they’re on, you don’t need to worry about them”. Clever shaping circulates air behind the lenses and they didn’t fog up. The big frame did impinge on vision in a tuck, and fit isn’t adjustable, but there are loads of frame and lens options to choose from. They come with two mono-lenses.

Verdict
Cleverly designed sunnies with top-quality lenses, but no adjustability.

Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Rudy Project Rydon
£149.99
www.rudyproject.com

These look and feel like good-quality sunglasses, with really well-made frames that are light and seem tough. The ImpactX lenses are made from NXT, a material which Rudy Project says was developed for the US military to be strong, shatterproof, light and clear. The photochromic lenses mean you don’t have to swap; they respond quickly to changes in light and our testers found they gave very sharp vision, and stayed clear. However, though they were comfy enough, the frames were small for cycling and didn’t have the same forget-about them feeling of others we tried.

Verdict
Good-looking, smart and clear lenses; not the best shape or comfort though.

Performance 4/5
Value 3/5
Overall 3/5

Adidas Evil Eye Halfrim Pro
£169
www.adidas.com

These bug-eyed beauties are light, sturdy and sharp. Our test size (the larger of two) was big on female testers, but they caused no discomfort on the bike and didn’t budge on the run. They’re supplied with yellow lenses as well as the main Decentered Vision Advantage PC Lens. This is a brown lens that coped well in bright sunlight and was unnoticeable in dull light. The huge area of the lenses meant great coverage and there was no distortion. They have a foam ridge on the frame to stop sweat, and stayed clear.

Verdict
Not cheap, but brilliantly subtle and versatile lenses and good shape.

Performance 5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5

Triathlon Plus Gold Award, issue 27

Oakley Custom Radar
£205
www.oakley.co.uk/custom

You might not believe your eyes when you see the price, but the quality of vision here is unbelievable too. Oakley’s High Definition Optics lenses are designed to ‘ensure ultimate clarity’ and the G30 lens on the Radar is meant to show undulations on the ground. The crisp vision and perfect perspective was a cut above most of the other glasses we tested. The Custom version we tried is new: you can order them in your club colours. Just make sure you use the hard case – you don’t want to stand on £200 worth of sunglasses.

Verdict
A cut above the rest in quality – but also in terms of price.

Performance 5/5
Value 3/5
Overall 4/5

Triathlon Plus Peak Performer Award, issue 27

Find more group tests from Triathlon Plus in our other best triathlon gear reviews.